This section contains information to help you support your employees. It covers health and safety, getting around, meeting training needs and accessibility at work.
Health and safety
Carrying out a risk assessment of the workplace or an activity for blind or partially sighted people doesn't have to be difficult, but it can sometimes be a daunting prospect. If you haven't worked with blind people before, it can be very easy to over-estimate risks or make assumptions about what blind people can or can't do.
We have produced guidance which highlights some of the things we're often asked about, to share examples of successful risk management and to suggest sources of help.
- Blind and partially sighted people at work - Guidance and good practice for Risk Assessors (Word, 272 KB)
Getting around and guiding a blind person
Many blind and partially sighted people have some useful vision. Some people will be able to see fine detail, while others may have very good peripheral vision. If someone has very little or no useful vision they will usually receive some kind of mobility training before seeking a job. Mostly, that involves learning to navigate using a long cane.
It is a good idea to arrange a tour of the workplace, as you would with any other employee.
We can provide you and your colleagues with visual awareness training, which includes guiding a blind person. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This can often be paid for through the Access to Work scheme.
Guide dogs in the workplace
Guide dogs are one example of an aid to mobility. However, it has been estimated that as few as one or two per cent of blind or partially sighted people use guide dogs to get around. It is therefore important that you don't assume that people either use guide dogs, or choose to bring them to work.
If in doubt about any aspect of working with guide dogs, representatives from Guide Dogs will want to help you with this. Email them at email@example.com or call them on 0118 983 5555.
Meeting training needs
If you are running a training course where blind or partially sighted delegates will be in attendance, there are some things you will need to consider.
We have produced some guidance to help you ensure these delegates are not disadvantaged. It covers course materials, note-taking, the training environment, access to refreshments and other facilities, and where to go for further information.
If you want to know how to create accessible documents, forms and presentations, or make events accessible, visit our Ask RNIB Accessibility at work Frequently Asked Questions.
If your organisation employs, or is due to take on, someone who is blind or partially sighted, they may need to use access software. We have produced a factsheet to help your IT staff test the compatibility of access software with your organisation's IT applications. Read the factsheet at our IT and accessibility at work section.
Knowledge and research hub
We are a leading source of information on sight loss and the issues affecting blind and partially sighted people. Access our statistics, evidence and reports in our research hub.Visit the research hub